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Exploring the ideas of protection free trade wages taxes see automation on the unemployment. These are just some of the topics to be heard on. Conversation with George's produced in cooperation with us and rejoined School of Social Science. And now we're here is your host for a conversation with Georgia. They faculty of the Long Island extension of the Henry George School of Social Science a school devoted exclusively to the dissemination of the philosophy of Henry George and its relevancy today welcomes you to the 10th in a series of programs dealing with the subject of economics. This subject has been relegated by many to a
back seat with respect to our interest and knowledge and left in the hands of these so-called experts. We feel that economics is everybody's concern. Regardless of education occupation profession or sex we offer and teach our free courses in economics. With this in mind and this program a conversation with joy just deals with economics in this vein and we hope to bring forth some answers to the perennial problems that face our nation and the world. My name is Stan Rubenstein director of the Long Island extension of the Henry George School and with us tonight are two members of the faculty of our school. Each one well-versed in the field of economics. Having spent many years teaching our free courses in economics. Dr. Sam Scheck is an orthodontist and Wayne Berry is an engineer. Our subject for tonight deals with
the farm problem. Gentleman as you are undoubtedly aware and I'm sure our listening audience is also aware of this fact that since the beginning of the 20th century and even before that time there has been a steady exit exit is from the farms to the cities. In fact going back into the days of the American Revolution approximately nine out of every 10 people living in the country at that time was a farmer. However today there are approximately seven out of every 100 people. That is a farmer. Not only that but always people that off farmers are able to produce not only a sufficient amount of food for this country and other parts of the world but every year we have a steady surplus in the light of this information
that we have just stated concerning I would culture. Why do you feel that we have a problem today. Dr. Sheck. Big business has entered into the realm of Agriculture the agriculture has become industrialized by the use of complicated machinery. The small farmer is being constantly displaced by the launch from the large farmer gets the government subsidies he has the money to buy land and capital and farm on a log scale. The cost of land is too high for a small farmer. And with the high interest rates that he has to pay on mortgages and with the high cost of machinery he is usually constantly in debt and operating in efficiently. But if we begin to analyze some of the things you have stated Dr. Sheck what you mention is not only true of agriculture but is also true
of industry if we can separate if that is possible. Agriculture from industry. Now we know that in industry there are many small business people that because of one reason or another because of inefficiency because of not being able to compete with many of the big industrial giants that we have have also going out of business. And yet I dont know whether we would state that we have a problem in industry and yet what you are stating here is because the small farmer is on his way out. Then we that is the reason we have a farm problem. Well aren't you in favor of inefficiency being done away with such as is the case with small farmers. What difference does it make if a large farmer can do a better job than the small farmer. Isn't the consumer the one that ultimately gains Dr. Sheck.
Well the consumer is not gaining by present government policies which are directed as at helping the large farmer rather than the small farmer prices on farm products are always going up and the average housewife knows this only too clearly. Your point about comparing agriculture with industry is true. People in the industrial world and in the business world have a hard time making a business succeed in competition with big business. In another words. It is difficult to make a living in the industrial field as well as in the agricultural field. So therefore you want not separating for the moment but only for the purposes of this program which deals with the farm problem. You feel that
the same basic problem of that farmers encounter is also encountered with the industrial industrialization or perhaps with the wage earner perhaps with the with the capitalist that does know that much of a difference as far as the fundamental problem that exists. But that is true. Henry GA points out that there is an average level of wages that persists throughout the country and there is a flow of laborers from one field to another seeking to earn the greatest amount of money with the least effort. And if for example in industry a man could make a better living than in agriculture the farmer would migrate to the cities. And if the reverse were true the city worker would migrate to the farm. Then say what you actually are stating is that the farmer or at least what's taking place on farm
areas represents the basis of wages. Is that correct. Yes wages are based upon what a man can in the basic industries such as farming lumbering fishing and so on therefore that whatever happens to this base in farming will really affect what's taking place in the city for example as I mentioned before at the beginning of the program that something like 70 percent of the people in this country produce enough food and more for this country including a surplus now. What happens with the 7 percent will therefore have a large effect in determining what the wages will be of the rest of the population. Am I correct in this line of reasoning. Yes according to the laws of economics if you can increase
the income of the farmer you will be increasing. You will be forcing an increase of income to the city worker. Now before you would mention that one of the perplexing and perennial problems that is facing many of the Housewives is the course that they are paying for food. That foods are steadily going up and I guess that anyone doing shopping really recognizes this information concerning food prices. Now is this one of the problems that we are speaking about when we talk about the farm problem that the steady rise in prices even though it seems that we have a surplus this seems to be an inconsistency here concerning our economy where as we are producing more than ever we have more than enough food which is available for people in this country. And yet the prices go up it would seem to be just the
opposite. The more we have of a product this really should mean that the prices go down but the opposite is taking place. Is this a problem in our economy. Well it is a problem. It's based upon the fact that people who aren't earning enough to make a living. And the government in that with the farmer and the government is trying to solve the problem by having prices remain high don't high level. Now this affects the consumer due to government policy policies are based upon helping the farmer and the consumer be damned. This does not work it's just sectionalism and everybody is paying for the higher prices that the farmer is getting. And still the average farmer is not benefiting it's the large farmer who is getting the benefit.
I missed the point Barry following up on Sam Shaq's point concerning the part that the government plays in the overall position concerning agriculture in our economy. What is the position that you people in the school take concerning government participation or government interfering in difference if you will in the agricultural program. Well everyone in the school or a geologist doesn't want the government interfering with private enterprise and we'd rather see the government keep out and let the natural laws of economics operate. They make a law that's counter that goes counter to the natural laws of economics and you're going to have trouble whether it's in a farm situation or in industry. Now when you speak about certain natural laws which run counter why Jackie what are you speaking about here.
Well this one illustration and they have given it before but it's it's just a personal talk I had with the Maine potato farmer that I said to him I made I made the statement I guess it's nice to get paid for not planting potatoes. And he looked kind of disgusted me and said No I'm not afraid to compete with any potato farmer in a country of the government only leave us alone I'd make more money. He says that only helps those that don't know how to raise but take this. Well I just agreed with him but I mean I didn't think he understood that that we had such firing but apparently if we let go the potato farmers are any kind of farmers to look at the they don't know enough to read the reports if they see the price of potatoes going down. They should know enough not to plan as many potatoes or plant corn and or whatever else is booked as short of that year and regulate their crops and it's good to rotate your crops.
I'm not a farmer but I think small farmers have found that up in the Massachusetts area where I came from that they rotated their crops and they specialized. Now the small farmers probably hurt more than the large farmer because he is forced out more on the marginal land probably on the poorer land and once it came more lately than I have the opportunity to get large tracts of land and the ones that came where I had to go out further and now I know that the government looks upon. The farmers the breadbasket I mean that's what that's why he should. I think he should have support. And it's natural that we keep our farmers gone that we do have food we don't lie here just just disappear off the face of the earth you might say. So there's a reason they might think oh they have an idea that they've got to support the farmer but the farmer doesn't need any support if we have a really a free economy and cut out land speculation that
that is hurting the small farmer more than the large farmer the the illustration a man in my office that owns 50 acres in Oregon and tells me the farmer next to him wants to buy it but he tells him No I didn't cost me much in taxes to pay it. I may want to retire there. And so he calls that 50 acres like a good many other thousands of people holding much more than that and not doing anything when the farm is next to it could could use it to a good advantage and probably. Not have to be supported because they can't can't rotate their crops like him done enough space to work. So I think to leave the farm alone. He can survive now when you know what you're stating you speak about a free economy as you have mentioned before and of course I think the implications in that remark is that with respect to the field of agriculture that we don't have a
free economy that we have perhaps other things working in place of it such as many of these government subsidies and government parties that they have. And yet isn't it also true that back in the early parts of the 1930s when we were in the midst of the one of the worst depressions that this country has ever faced that the farmer was in difficulty and that if the government did not step into the situation perhaps that the breadbasket as you call it that the backbone of our economy would have been in very serious trouble. Now let me just take this a step further. Sam before had mentioned that what takes place with the farmer with respect to his wages will have a direct effect upon the wages of city workers that the base is as he mentioned is one of the basis at least of our economy is the farmer now.
If the government sees to it that the farmer is better off. Isn't this in reality going to help everyone else along the line. And then you state will let the whole thing work on a free economy. Isn't this the very thing the government is doing that they are helping the small farmer to stay in business so to speak. Well I think that helping the small farmer but they're helping the ones that apparently have never been farmers. That's what I've heard to have land and I don't know they know how to polity even and they're getting money out of government for not planting. Which to me is is a is really a waste of the taxpayers money. I can't see that that's true and we may not have an enemy as we should have and I know the farmer is hurt because he has to pay a lot of other taxes that excise taxes on things that he isn't. He can't raise his price of food
the same as the industry can raise the price of products. Sam you had mentioned before in line with what Wayne has already mentioned and I've heard this before that there are certain people that call themselves farmers that have been able to gain that are really not even farmers perhaps one could say that they're in the field of land speculation because farming is not their main concern. Now you have also indicated before that it is many times the large farmer that is gaining and not the small farmer. Exactly what do you mean by this when we speak about the government giving props giving aid to to farmers. Well I have a report from the Christian Science Monitor which shows how subsidies have been given and here I can see five
five companies at the top of the list. They're called companies one has received over four million dollars. A year another almost three million and the three others are well over one million dollars apiece. These are companies and corporations probably owned by stockholders. This is where the money is going they're not going to the Little Farmer He's very often left out when it comes to these benefits. Now when you speak about receiving four million dollars and three million dollars receiving it for what this is for keeping acreage out of your house. See this in other words if these companies had used this acreage and could have produced a certain amount of crops and received a certain amount of money for these crops the government gives them the money for this crops without them having to do the work. I mean that this is a standard practice that we have in this country that the government does pay farmers for not producing.
Yes this is this is a standard practice today and I'm sure it must hurt a lot of people to hear this. I know in my field in dentistry the dentists would love to be paid for fillings that they do not do. Why doesn't the government institute this program for the poor dentists say I haven't gotten it yet. I hope that no officials from the government are listening because we may very well find out who has the weaker cell that has already saved this. If the same is true in dentistry its aim also follows through in other fields if it should happen to the dentists I'm sure they would object to it as much as the farmers object to government subsidies because they would then become ruled by the government and they would lose their independence without getting back to many of these large sums of money that apparently the government is paying out to farmers and as you indicate here it seems to be large farmers are receiving nice shares into the millions of
dollars for things which they do not produce. How does this affect the average housewife and the average taxpayer. Well the average housewife has to pay additionally in two ways. First because of the taxes and additional taxes which have to be raised to pay for the subsidies and secondly through inflation and higher products in the higher cost of farm products. And many people resent this today very much and basically it is behind recent riots and so on. Then what you're stating and of course just mean I don't know you applied to farm products but may apply to any area and I think that this is a difficult concept because we hear the word free tossed around so much that this is free and that is free and we somehow get the impression that unless we pay for something directly then
this is free. It seems that when things are done in directly we are not as aware of something taking place is that's what's happening right now with with these farmers that are getting paid for not producing food. Well in a way nothing is free. And when you are getting services or products aware without paying for them somebody is paying for them and even you paying for them in the form of higher taxes. It's working the wrong way is just not right. It is unfair for some people to be paying and not receiving and it's unfair for others to receive and not be paying as much. And somewhere along the line there is a great loss of monies through pain for help in a government bureaucracy.
Now going into line with what Wayne had mentioned before is this what seems to be the antithesis of a free economy or natural or the things that are taking place with respect to the government not the government paying for something where somebody does not produce. Is this what Wayne meant mentioned before is this what he means when he speaks about our economic laws. Yes our natural economic laws would dictate through supply and demand. How many laborers there should be in any particular field. And it is not necessary for the government to come in and say that their officials know more than let's say Nature does. If the farmers are not doing so well they would naturally tend into other fields. This happens in industry all the time. Workers are and business people are shifting their lines of endeavor according to the dictates of the market according to supply
and demand. And there is no government that can presume to be so all knowing as to be able to direct these efforts. Even the Russian government has not succeeded. And we know in fact that they have failed miserably and I don't and in line with what you are stating with respect to this that with the surpluses that we have besides a number of farmers getting paid for not producing things that the farmer that the government does purchase from the farmers. Quite an abundance of quite an amount of crude and one of the rather large course that this government has incurred is the warehousing of much of this food that this food is in warehouses so not only has the government. Purchased the food which in reality is costing the taxpayer more money. But the food that they do get and they do place into the warehouses. The government
has to pay for the rent on these warehouses. Pay for the storage so it seems that the consumer seems to be getting hit in every direction once you're dealing with subsidies. But perhaps we can get to the essence of it. Would you gentlemen be in favor of going back to conditions the way they were prior to governmental control or interference in the farm program. Or do you have some plan that you feel would alleviate some of the problems that we have been speaking about the ring the last few moments. Wayne. Yeah wouldn't we have to go back but not go back but we should correct the situation not the way the government's doing it but by taxation reform that Henry George advocated the shifty the burden of taxation from those that are producing the value based upon the value of the land and everybody of course thinks that's going to hurt the
farmer. But you have to put the word value when it's Land Value Taxation and the land of the farmer plants on is not as valuable as city land or industrious. If we do that we will be cutting out land speculation which will not only help the farmer but will help everybody. This government interference whether it's in farms or any other type of businesses is not is not good. There is one illustration I know of time to give but shows what the government can do in a farm situation. Not in this country but there was a woman to tell me about him and she had an uncle who was a small farmer. I don't want the raid but he had one pig and English had made a law that they they wanted to control the price support so they made a law saying that they couldn't kill only the pigs until the government told them to list farmer her uncle said I can't understand how anybody sitting in Parliament can tell me when that pig is grown the right size to be killed and they made sure that somebody was up there inspector that he killed that
pig on a certain time and he was as you know time farmer just couldn't understand how anybody could tell him when to kill his pig just to keep the price of the pork a level but of course what's what you're mentioning here is that I Sam has as mentioned before not only on this program but on previous programs that the government is not all powerful when it comes to regulation that the best one to decide. About what should be produced and watch it be consumed are the people themselves. So I have to know if and when has made it clear as to what the Georgists would wish to do and that is to place the burden of taxation upon the land and to remove it from labor and capital. It would affect the farmer a beneficially in this respect the land would be available for the farmers to buy C at a reasonable price
and once they produce their labor and labor products would not be taxed in this way they would benefit tremendously. Well how would this affect for example his mortgages things of that nature. Well his mortgages would be much lower since a great deal of the mortgage is based upon the cost of land he must buy the land before he can even put up buildings because there seems to be one of the aggravating problems I know that farmers have used to pay off that mortgage and of course this bites into the actual food they produce. So for you the day if we had a very small market or none at all this would attract farmers to farming and they would be have more money left for machinery and to hire workers to help them. Therefore you feel good therefore you feel that this tax on land value would help the farmer. Rather than harm him it would definitely help Li a farmer and providing greater opportunity for him to produce and letting him keep
more of his product than previously. Gentlemen I wish we could continue with this conversation but our time has run out and I wish to thank each one of you for appearing with us tonight. Dr. Sam Scheck and Mr. Wayne Barry on conversation with Georges. Anyone interested in the free courses that we offer on Long Island is more than welcome to write us at the Henry George School Post-office Box 54 Old Bethpage Long Island for information that address again is the Henry joint school Post-office Box fifty four Old Bethpage Long Island. Exploring the ideas of protection free trade wages taxes automation and the unemployed. This has been a conversation with Georgia. It's produced by W D A
C off for University in Hempstead in cooperation with the Emory drug School of Social Science. This is ANY our national educational radio network.
Conversation with Georgists
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Conversation with Georgists is a thirteen part program on economics produced by WVHC and the Henry George School of Social Science. In each episode, host Stan Rubenstein speaks with faculty members of the Henry George School about a specific economic issue and draws on the work and philosophy of Henry George. The program states that it seeks to make economics accessible to everybody regardless of sex, profession, occupation, and education.
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Host: Rubenstein, Stan
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